The restaurateurs behind two of TripAdvisor's "Best Fine Dining Restaurants in the United States" are preparing to open their third Memphis-area concept.
Russ Graham and Tom Powers, the duo behind Downtown's Flight Restaurant & Bar and Germantown's Southern Social, plan to open the much-anticipated Porch & Parlor restaurant this fall in Overton Square. The restaurant will take over the space formerly held by Bar Louie, at 2125 Madison Ave. at the corner of Madison and South Cooper Street.
The restaurant is currently under construction, as is the menu.
As prep for Porch & Parlor, Graham, Powers and Flight executive chef Eduardo Murillo have traveled and will continue to travel to the nation's top culinary establishments. Visits so far have included French seafood restaurant Le Barnardin in New York and The French Laundry in California. Graham said they also plan to visit restaurants and popular wineries in the San Francisco Bay Area.
"We've been traveling and going to several different restaurants, just trying to get inspiration at building the menu," Graham said. "[Porch & Parlor is] going to be very high-end. I grew up in New Orleans, and my business partner grew up in South Florida, so we are drawing inspiration from those places … to develop the menu."
Porch & Parlor will occupy 6,000 square feet of space, including a 1,000-square-foot patio or porch space. Graham said the restaurant will be able to accommodate 130 people in the dining room and 100 guests outside.
Graham said Porch & Parlor will embrace the period when the building was constructed, which was in the early 1900s. La Belle Époque was a time of economic prosperity, and the interior design of the new restaurant will take inspiration from era.
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"The look of the restaurant will be influenced by the French-type, lavish lifestyles that you would see in movies like "The Great Gatsby," where the champagne was flowing and the food was abundant," Graham said. "We are really doing a lot of things that feel authentic to that period from the floors to even some of the food."
But, Graham said, they are also "embracing what Midtown is to a lot of people."
As for choosing Midtown, Graham credits Loeb Properties' president Bob Loeb for their choice of location.
"His vision to really revitalize this area has made Midtown or Overton Square look different than what it was seven years ago and made us want to be part of this," Graham said.
Porch & Parlor will have 100 employees, about the same amount as Flight and Southern Social. Graham said the general manager at Porch & Parlor will be Jack Wise. His previous restaurant experience included being the general manager at the Del Frisco's Restaurant Group in Chicago for almost five years.
Flight opened on North Main Street in 2009; Southern Social opened in Germantown in 2016. Both of those restaurants have both named to TripAdvisor's "Best Fine Dining Restaurants in the United States" list.